Looking forward to the end of the doughnut days

Looking forward to the end of the doughnut days

COMMENT
Agribusiness
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The horticulture industry should aim for a higher rate of vaccination than the rest of the population by December.

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COVID-19 has had and will continue to have widespread impacts on the economy, on public health, and even our language.

New words have been born, and old words have been given new meaning. For example, we now have "doughnut days" where we have no new COVID-19 cases, given the resemblance of the humble doughnut to the number zero.

But this new term is unlikely to persist to the end of the pandemic, simply because doughnut days themselves will soon become a thing of the past.

The cost of keeping community transmission to zero is too great into the long term.

So we're rushing to get our population vaccinated so that we can begin slowly and as safely as possible opening up the economy and getting back to some kind of normality in our way of life. In doing so, we must come to accept the possibility of more COVID-19 cases.

At current rates Queensland will be the second last state, behind only WA, to achieve full vaccination for 80 per cent of the population in early December. At that point, or sometime thereafter, our political leaders and community are going to have to make a break with doughnut days, if a new Delta outbreak hasn't already done it for us.

That is why the next couple of months are so important for the horticulture industry, the fresh produce supply chain, and individual businesses to get our houses in order. We need to make every post a winner.

As an industry we should aim for a higher rate of vaccination than the rest of the population by December. Our ambition should be 100pc.

Also, we all need to now review our policies and procedures to manage COVID risks which were put in place some 18 months ago.

Businesses employing domestic or overseas seasonal workers in Queensland should note that as of Friday September 3 it became mandatory to complete a COVID Safe Checklist, and wherever possible to use the Check-In Qld app to record the entry of all staff and visitors.

Check the Queensland Health website for the latest directive and guidance materials here: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/seasonal-workers

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